Monday, 20 February 2017

Sirte and Qaraqosh Iraq liberated from ISIS: Displaced returning home

Qaraqosh is a small town outside of Mosul West of Erbil and Northwest of Kirkuk. Qaraqosh is part of Iraqi Kurdistan, the autonomous region of Northern Iraq that borders Syrian Kurdish region of Rojava and Western Iran. Map from

The city of Sirte in North central Libya south of Misrata had been under ISIS control for the past two years. ISIS originally entered the city via Eastern Libya in 2015. Hundreds of IDPs have slowly and cautiously returned to Sirte from nearby camps and distant relatives' homes. Like in Syria and Iraq, ISIS fighters had held the city under siege while executing civilians particularly Coptic Christians and Eritreans (also Muslims) on Sirte's beach and in the city's destroyed neighbourhoods. Pro Government forces and other armed militias have been battling ISIS for the last year to regain control of the city. Now, ISIS has regrouped to the Libyan desert that makes a large chunk of Libya's countryside. Libya still has two governments Libya Dawn based in Tripoli and Derna and Tobruk Government in the far east of the African country. It's not too different from Bosnia's political system where it has three presidents all at once. Unlike Bosnia, only one of Libya's government is seen as legitimate by Western countries. The Tripoli based government has been fighting for its survival since the original transitional national council transferred power to General National Congress in October 2012. Sirte was destroyed during 2011 Libyan Uprising turned war. It is most famous for being the home town of the late Maumar Gaddhafi. After he was killed by rebel forces in October 2011, the multiple militia groups whose raison d' etre was to get rid of Gaddhafi refused to disarm. Six years later, the militias are still in control of Tripoli, parts of Benghazi, Bani Walid, Misrata and Tarwegha which remains a ghost town after Afro Libyans were expelled from the town 6 years ago as revenge for the battle of Misrata.

Sirte: ISIS HQ taken

Tel Keif, Iraq Chaldean Patriarch reopens Tel Keif Church after ISIS leaves RUDAW Tv Kurdish

In Iraq, the Assyrian Christian town of Qaraqosh aka Bakhdida, has been liberated since Oct 21st of last year from ISIS rule by Iraqi Army joined by US NATO coalition have launched an aerial and ground campaign dubbed the "Battle of Mosul" to recapture Mosul, Iraq's second largest city after Baghdad from ISIS and its takfiri cousins. Qaraqosh is near the ancient ruins of Nineveh and Nimrud. Yes, the same towns of the Ancient Assyrian Empire and biblical stories. The residents of Qaraqosh have slowly started to rebuild their destroyed homes and streets. Despite the town's destruction, some Qaraqosh residents refuse to live anywhere else or become migrants.

Mosul's full liberation from ISIS chaos has come far slower compared to Aleppo's liberation from ISIS by Syrian Army and Russian airforce which took a little over a month to begin and complete. The outer villages and suburbs were cleared of ISIS soldiers and terrorists first as the Iraqi Army approached and surround Mosul. Fighting is continuously ongoing between Iraqi soldiers and ISIS. Iraqi Kurds have been doing more than Iraqi Army to fight back ISIS and push the takfiris back not only from Erbil and other parts of Iraqi Kurdistan. In neighbouring Syria, Syrian Kurds have also been helping themselves against ISIS.

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